Refractive lens exchange

What is Refractive Lens Exchange?

If you are 45 years or above refractive lens exchange could be the perfect solution to your frustration with your bifocal or varifocal glasses.

With refractive lens exchange, the natural lens inside your eye is replaced with an artificial one which means you will never get cataract. This option is preferred to laser eye surgery for patients of retirement age as early stages of cataracts are quite common. A refractive lens exchange is a great way for Dr. Arbabi to solve two vision problems. He can deal with any current or potential cataracts and at the same time give you natural distance and near vision without glasses.

lens surgery

Refractive lens exchange is used to treat

consultant eye surgeon


When your natural lens becomes cloudy and vision doesn’t improve with glasses or contact lenses.


A common, age-related condition that often occurs after the age of 40, causing many people to require glasses for reading even if they never needed them before.


Severe astigmatism

When the second part of your glasses prescription (called cylinder) is over 6 dioptres.

Severe short-sightedness

When your glasses prescription is over -10 dioptres and you are not suitable for an ICL implant.

Severe long-sightedness

When your glasses prescription is more than +6.5 dioptres and you are not suitable for an ICL implant.

alternative to laser

If you are not suitable for laser eye surgery refractive lens exchange can be a very safe and effective alternative.

One of the main benefits of this treatment is that you’ll never develop cataracts in the future, which is common in most people over 55 years old.

Premium lens implant technology

Dr. Arbabi has access to a full range of cutting-edge lens technologies from leading manufactures such as Zeiss, Alcon, Johnson & Johnson and man y others. This means you can receive highly individualised care and recommendations for the best lens implant for your lifestyle and your eyes. All of Dr. Arbabi’s lenses have a UV filter built in for added protection.

There are three main types of lens implants:

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Trifocal multifocal lens

The Trifocal multifocal lenses have the potential to help you see clearly without glasses, whether for distance (driving, playing golf, watching TV), intermediate (computer work), or near vision (reading). Ninety-five percent of patients with trifocal lenses do not need glasses for near or distance vision. One of the main downsides of these lenses compared to standard monofocal lenses, which you will read about below, is that they are more likely to cause glare and haloes and therefore more likely to compromise night-time driving vision. Most glare and haloes will spontaneously resolve or improve significantly or can be treated. Rarely, these symptoms can be very troublesome and permeant and can make some tasks such as driving at night time very difficult or impossible. Therefore there is a small risk (usually about 2%) that you may require further surgery to exchange the lens to a standard monofocal lens.
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Extended depth of focus (EDOF) lenses

These lenses give very good distance vision (driving, playing golf, watching TV) and intermediate vision (computer work) but you are more likely to require glasses for reading. These lenses are better suited to outdoor people and those who enjoy activities that require far distance vision such as playing golf, watching football matches or driving a lot at night. The main benefit of these lenses over the trifocal lenses is they are less likely to give glare and halo symptoms or give you problems with driving at night. The down side of these lenses is you are more likely to need glasses for reading compared to trifocal lenses. Thirty percent of patients with EDOF lenses may require glasses for reading small print.
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Standard Monofocal lenses

These lenses can only correct the vision for either near or distance. If you opt to correct your distance vision, then you will always need glasses for all near work. Compared to Multifocal and EDOF lenses they are less likely to cause glare or halos symptoms.

How is refractive lens exchange is done?

The surgery is almost identical to cataract surgery, but you will likely have an advanced multifocal lens implant rather than the standard monofocal lens implant.

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Am I suitable for refractive lens exchange?

Take our online suitability test

30 Sec. Assessment

If you are over 45 years of age or have been told you are are not suitable for laser eye surgery, then refractive lens exchange could be a perfect solution for you to decrease or eliminate your need for glasses.

If you want to find out if you’re eligible for refractive lens exchange, you can take Dr. Arbabi’s online suitability test. Complete the assessment and have your results in just one minute.

If you’re not sure which treatment is best for you, you can take Dr. Arbabi’s 30-second assessment and find out now.

What to Expect

On the Day of Your Treatment

laser eye surgery
1. Warm welcome
You will meet with Dr. Arbabi who will review your clinical measurements, examine you and make you feel at ease.
laser eye surgery
2. Ensuring you are comfortable
Local anaesthetics eye drops will be instilled in your eyes to ensure they are completely numb and comfortable throughout the procedure.
3. Lens exchange

Dr. Arbabi uses the advance ultrasonic machine to remove your natural lens through a keyhole (2-3mm) incision and then implants the new lens inside the same membrane that held your original lens. After the procedure you will soon be ready to see the world in focus.

After the Treatment

after treatment care
1. What to Expect
It is not unusual for your eyes to feel slightly gritty and light sensitive after the procedure, but this will quickly subside, and the eye should feel better by the next day.
after treatment care
2. Aftercare drops and advice
You will be given your aftercare drops and advice. You will be asked to wear a pair of sunglasses when making your way back to home and to stop rubbing your eye for at least one week. Avoid make up on face for one week and on your eyes for two weeks.
after treatment care
3. The future

You will be seen the next day and advised when you can resume normal activities. Most people can expect to return to office-based work within first 24 to 48h after surgery. You should be able to resume most sport activates within 1 to 2 weeks. In addition, as part of our unique service you will be given Dr Arbabi’s personal phone number to call or WhatsApp me directly if you had any concern or wanted to discuss anything about your procedure.

More information

Refractive Lens Exchange step by step answer to all your questions

Patients with multifocal lenses are likely to experience a degree of glare and night vision problems which is only mild in the majority of cases. With this procedure, there is a 95% chance that you will be glasses free.
The alternatives to refractive lens exchange include:
  • Keeping your glasses or contact lenses
  • Other types of laser eye surgery such as SMILE, LASIK or LASEK
  • Waiting to have surgery in the future if you develop cataracts
Click here for different types of lens implants.

The risks of refractive lens exchange are similar to laser cataract surgery. However, with multifocal and trifocal lenses and extended depth of focus lenses there is higher risk of glare, halos and night vision problems than from a monofocal lens implant. Also, if you are younger than a typical cataract patient there is a higher risk of retinal detachment.

Discover the freedom from glasses or contact lenses

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